Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Antibiotics for Emerging Pathogens

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_523

Definition of the Subject

Antibiotics are organic small molecules , many of which are from natural sources, which are used to treat human infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms . While most validated antibiotics are initially very useful clinically, the pathogenic microorganisms that these compounds target are able to evade the action of the antibiotic by development of resistance mechanisms, which eventually render these antibiotics ineffective. Moreover, these resistance mechanisms can be passed on among different types of bacteria in a very simplistic manner that further compromises the usefulness of antibiotics. As a consequence, many diseases that were thought to have been eradicated by antibiotics (such as tuberculosis) have reemerged within these antibiotic-resistant strains. Hence, there is a constant need for the development of new and better antibiotic molecules that can be used to target these drug-resistant microbial populations.

Traditionally, the discovery and...

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Research in the Nair lab is supported by the NIGMS. We thank Neha Garg, Yue Hao, and Zhi Li for stimulating discussions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Biophysics and Computational BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Center for Biophysics and Computational BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA